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Don’t Say I Never Warned You

I’ve been sewing for (drum roll and cymbal crash, please) about 50 years. That’s a lot of time and you’d think your dear Aunty would have learned some lessons along the way. Which I have.

But I can still get snagged. I still buy fabric the same way I did when I started: Grab the bolt, take it to the cutting counter, tell the cutter how much and off I go. And it hit me today when I was working on a very simple blouse that I really do need to change this, at least with places I actually walk into.

I really need to make the cutter open the fabric up so that I see the stuff I’m buying.

How many times have we started to pin and cut fabric, only to find a flaw…or a stain…or a misprint?
And there you are (cue music from “Psycho”).

Well, there are more organized methods to deal with the procedure: Open up the fabric before you even pre-treat it so that you can, maybe, get more or take it back. But most of the time we buy for the stash and then it’s all gone at the store, right? I’ve never had the luck of finding more just sitting there waiting for me.

So, here I was with the front all cut out and I went to do the back of the blouse and there’s a misprint, right where, if I kept on cutting the back pattern piece the same way, it would locate itself right in dangerous territory. How about a cartoon sign next to it with a giant arrow, right? Jeeze.

OK. So here’s the fix. The trick is to make more smaller pieces of the pattern that you can space around the fabric, so that you can miss the stain, flaw, misprint, etc. In my case, what I did was I folded the pattern vertically, matching the center ‘cut on the fold’ line to the side seam line. I cut the pattern apart where I folded it and then I marked ‘add 1/2″ here’ on both pieces where I’d cut it (because otherwise, I’ll never remember and then the back would have been too small). I also did some judicious pattern matching so that the pattern matched horizontally as well.

So, lessons for tonight: Make the cutter at the fabric store unfold the fabric so that you get a good look before they cut it. If you buy on-line, open the package immediately and do the same thing at home so that if you have to send it back for replacement, you’ve got a fighting chance the merchant still has some of that fabric. And second – if you’ve got a small ‘woops’ perhaps with some clever new style-lines cut into your pattern, you can still get what you want out of your not-so-perfect fabric.

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One Comment

  1. Ruth says:

    The very reason I tend to buy at least a yard more than I need. Better extra fabric than not enough! I, too, have learned this the hard way after as many years of sewing as you. I still don’t remember the things I should half the time.

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